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Chapter 58

Mahabharata English - BHISHMA PARVA

Sanjaya said, “Then those kings, excited with rage, beholding Phalguni inbattle, surrounded him on all sides with many thousands of cars. Andhaving, O Bharata surrounded him with multitudinous division of cars,they shrouded him from all sides with many thousands of shafts. Andbright lances of sharp points, and maces, and clubs endued with spikes,and bearded darts and battle-axes, and mallets and bludgeons they hurledat Phalguni’s car, excited with rage. And that shower of weaponsapproaching (towards him) like a flight of locusts, Pritha’s son checkedon all sides with his gold-decked arrows. And beholding there on thatoccasion the superhuman lightness of hand that Vibhatsu possessed, thegods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Pisachas, the Uragas and theRakshasas eulogised Phalguni, O king, saying,–‘Excellent, Excellent.’And the heroic Gandharvas along with Suvala’s son with a large forcesurrounded Satyaki and Abhimanyu. Then the brave warriors led by Suvala’sson from anger, cut into pieces the excellent car of the Vrishni hero,with weapons of diverse kinds. And in course of that fierce conflict,Satyaki, abandoning that car of his, speedily mounted on Abhimanyu’s car,O chastiser of foes. And those two, mounted on the same car, then beganto speedily slaughter the army of Suvala’s son with straight arrows ofsharp points. And Drona and Bhishma, steadily struggling in battle, beganto slaughter the division of king Yudhishthira the just, with sharpshafts furnished with the feathers of the Kanka bird. Then the son ofDharma and two other sons of Pandu by Madri, in the very sight of thewhole army, began to grind the division of Drona. And the battle thattook place there was fierce and awful, making the hair stand on end, likethe terrible battle that took place between the gods and the Asuras indays of yore. And Bhimasena and Ghatotkacha, both achieved mighty feats.Then Duryodhana, approaching, checked them both. And the prowess we thenbeheld of Hidimva’s son was exceedingly wonderful, insomuch that hefought in battle, O Bharata, transcending his very father. And Bhimasena,the son of Pandu, excited with wrath, pierced the vindictive Duryodhanain the breast, with an arrow, smiling the while. Then king Duryodhana,afflicted by the violence of that blow, sat down on the terrace of hiscar and swooned away. And his charioteer then, beholding him senseless,speedily bore him away, O king, from battle. And then the troops thatsupported Duryodhana broke and fled. And thereupon Bhima, smiting thatKuru army thus flying away in all directions, with sharp-pointed shafts,pursued it behind. And Prishata’s son (Dhrishtadyumna), that foremost ofwarriors, and Pandu’s son king Yudhishthira, the just, in the very sight,O Bharata, of both Drona and Ganga’s son, slew their army with sharpshafts capable of slaying hostile forces. That host of thy son, thusflying away in battle, those mighty car-warriors. Bhishma and Drona wereincapable of checking. For though attempted to be checked by Bhishma andthe high-souled Drona, that host fled away in the very sight of Drona andBhishma. And then when (those) thousand of car-warriors fled away in alldirections, Subhadra’s son and that bull of Sini’s race, both stationedon the same car, began, O chastiser of foes, to slaughter the army ofSuvala’s son of battle. And Sini’s grandson and that bull of Kuru’s racelooked resplendent like the sun and the moon when together in thefirmament after the last lunation of the dark fortnight has passed away.And then Arjuna also, O king, excited with rage, showered arrows on thyarmy like the clouds pouring rain in torrents. And the Kaurava army, thusslaughtered in battle with the shafts of Partha, fled away, trembling ingrief and fear. And beholding the army flying away, the mighty Bhishmaand Drona, excited with rage and both desirous of Duryodhana’s welfaresought to cheek it. Then king Duryodhana himself, comforting thecombatants, checked that army, then flying away in all directions. Andthereupon all the mighty Kshatriya car-warriors stopped, each at the spotwhere he saw thy son. And then others among the common soldiers,beholding them stop, stopped of their own accord, O king, from shame anddesire of displaying their courage unto one another. And the impetuosity,O king, of that army thus rallied to the fight resembled that of thesurging sea at the moment of the moon’s rise. And king Duryodhana,beholding that army of his rallied for the fight, quickly repaired toSantanu’s son Bhishma and said these words. ‘O grandsire, listen to whatI say, O Bharata. When, O son of Kuru, thou art alive, and Drona, thatforemost of persons conversant with weapons, along with his son and withall our other friends (is alive), and then that mighty bowman Kripa alsois alive, I do not regard it as at all creditable that my army shouldthus fly away. I do not regard the Pandavas to be, by any means, a matchfor thee or for Drona, in battle, or for Drona’s son, or for Kripa.Without doubt, O grandsire, the sons of Pandu are being favoured by thee,inasmuch as thou forgivest, O hero, this slaughter of my army. Thoushouldst have told me, O king, before this battle took place, that thouwouldst not fight with the Pandavas. Hearing such words from thee, asalso from the preceptor, O Bharata, I would then have, with Karna,reflected upon what course I should pursue. If I do not deserve to beabandoned by you two in battle, then, O bulls among men, do ye fightaccording to the measure of your prowess. Hearing these words, Bhishma,laughing repeatedly, and turning up his eyes in wrath, said to thy son,’Many a time, O king, have I said unto thee words worthy of thyacceptance and fraught with thy good. The Pandavas are incapable of beingvanquished in battle by the very gods with Vasava amongst them. That,however, which my aged self is capable of doing, I will do to the extentof my power, O best of kings, in this battle. Witness it now with thykinsmen. Today, in the very sight of all, alone I shall check the sons ofPandu at the head of their troops and with all their kinsfolk.’ Thusaddressed by Bhishma, thy son, O king, filled with delight, causedconches to be blown and drums to be beaten. And the Pandavas also, Oking, hearing that loud uproar, blew their conches, and caused theirdrums and cymbals to be played upon.”

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